General Meeting Minutes from January 23, 2024


In attendance were Maria, Mark, Taylor T., Emily, Matthew, Mike B., Kyle, Nick, Melanie, Nathaniel, Stephan, Lisa, Quentin, Ken, John, and Zeke.


  • Stephan displayed the official roles of the five officers while Ken talked.
  • Dues are due. Pay $15 as an individual or $22 as a family. Your dues allow the grotto to maintain its stock of loaner helmets and lights. The funds also pay for our campsites during the big annual grotto trip. Each year, the grotto donates money to a cave conservancy or to some other worthy cave-related group.
  • Mike shared the treasurer’s report.
  • The 2023 officers recommend expenditure of up to $250 of TriTrog funds to improve the entrance to Buchanan Saltpeter Cave.


  • The Virginia Senate bill to dissolve the Virginia Cave Board was successfully stricken.
  • Mike reports that RASS (Richmond Area Something Something) will no longer accept donations from us because their charitable status changed.
  • Taylor continues to probe the possibility of an available meeting space at Chapel Hill Community Center. The grotto members who live in Chapel Hill and Durham would occasionally prefer to drive less.
  • There have been reports of the leg loops on the Petzl Superavanti and Aven harnesses slipping through the buckles. As of January 31, 2024, Petzl has not publicly reported this as a safety issue, but the company now produces anti-slip devices for these harnesses and provides them free-of-charge to anyone who requests them.
  • Taylor hauled in lots of cave-related books and maps that were given to the grotto by the estate of Dana Rea.

Trip Reports

  • Kyle et al visited Worley’s Cave (TN). Kyle found it a lot easier than Hancock Cave. It has some nice features and the river was cool.
  • After Worley’s, Melanie and Nick sought out Grindstaff Cave. They eventually found it and the pit and a waterfall and stream crawl.
  • Did Melanie mention that she loves Worley’s? “It literally just gets better and better and better.” That explains why she keeps going back.
  • Nick surveyed with Ken and Sully in Buchanan Saltpeter Cave. They spent nearly 8 cold hours looping around the entrance area. See Ken’s trip report.
  • Despite leaving his camera at home and running out of water, Matthew thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in Paxton’s with Taylor and Mark. At least they found the Christmas Room. And next time they’re more likely to remember the route back.
  • Melanie and Nick went to a bunch of caves, some previously unnamed and/or unknown. Beacon had some nice river passage and a wide chimney that they chose to not do. They returned to Speedwell and saw almost all it has to offer. Also, Goosepoop Cave, Sugar Hall Cave.

Upcoming Trips

  • VAR Sinkhole Cleanup in Bland, VA – April 27-28
  • Spring VAR in Durbin, WV – May 3-4
  • NSS Convention in Sewanee, TN – July 1-5


ChairTaylor Tibbs
Vice-ChairStephan Francke
SecretaryMelanie Davis
TreasurerMike Broome
WebmasterNick Taylor